Sep 19, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; General view of fireworks during the NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Here at SelectATicket.com, I want to give you a closer feel to the NFL games as they come up. Each week, I will give you my predictions for each game, as well links to purchase tickets for each game. I would love to hear your opinions and whether you disagree with me. I’d also be willing to answer any questions, whether game or fantasy football related as well!
Last night, the 2015 NFL season opened with the New England Patriots raising their Super Bowl banner and trophy, before winning 28-21 over AFC contender Pittsburgh Steelers. Tom Brady’s return to the field after all of the Deflategate controversy was triumphant, as he threw four touchdowns, three to tight end Rob Gronkowski, and seemed to show little to no rust after an offseason of uncertainty. Thankfully I did pick the Patriots to win this game, so I am 1-0 to start the NFL season!
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
Aaron Rodgers usually saves his best football for his NFC rivals. Jay Cutler usually saves his worst football for NFC rivals. Despite losing top target Jordy Nelson for the season, Aaron Rodgers still has some of the best offensive weapons in the league, and a work horse running back in Eddy Lacy, who has 9 consecutive games of 100 yards rushing or more. The Bears, behind new head coach John Fox, and new weapons for Cutler, will have to protect the football and put up at least 23 points to win this game, and usually against the Packers, that’s when Cutler struggles the most.
Packers 31 Bears 17
Find tickets for Packers at Bears –
Packers at Bears Tickets
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams
The most violent division in football is the NFC West, where all four teams can get to the quarterback and run the ball right over defenders. Look no further than this match up in St. Louis, where two of the most aggressive defenses in the league meet up. The Rams may feature the deepest defensive line in the league, while the Seahawks may feature the best defense in the NFL for the 3rd year in a row. On offense, it’s all about running the ball, as Beast Mode, Marshawn Lynch, looks to continue making Seahawks fans and fantasy owners alike happy. The Seahawks added all world tight end Jimmy Graham to the mix, to give quarterback Russell Wilson a big target in the red zone. The Rams tend to play the Seahawks tough, but they don’t have the offensive firepower or quarterback play to knock off the back to back NFC champions.
Seahawks 24 Rams 13
Find tickets for Seahawks at Rams –
Seahawks at Rams Tickets
Cleveland Browns at New York Jets
Two teams who finished at the bottom of their division last year, look to get off on the right track in the 2015 season. With a new front office, head coach, quarterback, and a couple of old faces, the Jets are looking to post their first winning season since 2010. The Jets added Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall, quarterback wide receiver, and brought back cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis. The Jets will look to play smothering defense to make up for their questionable offense, as the most sure thing on their offense is Chris Ivory. Ball control is the game for the Jets, and for the Browns, a very similar game plan. Uncertainty at quarterback is what has plagued both of these franchises for the better part of their existence, and the Browns continue that trend by trotting out journeyman Josh McCown, who does not have a great supporting cast on offense. The Browns need to force a few turnovers and not turn the ball over to win this one, and even then it will be tough. I expect the Jets to win a close one on a Nick Folk field goal.
Jets 17 Browns 14
Find tickets for Browns at Jets –
Browns at Jets Tickets
Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars
After winning back to back NFC South championships, no team has seen more turnover on offense than the Carolina Panthers. Take a look at their depth chart at wide receiver and you’ll be hard pressed to find a single name you know. With quarterback Cam Newton expected to be running more than the past two years, the Panthers are not going to be winning many, if any shootouts. Instead, they’ll rely on their defense and All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly to stuff the run and create turnovers for favorable field position. In the opener, they head to Jacksonville to take on second year quarterback Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars. After a rough rookie campaign, Bortles focused on his mechanics in the offseason, while the team tried to put a better line in front of him, and better weapons around him. Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley wants to rush the quarterback and stuff the run, but the pieces still haven’t full fallen in place. I expect the young Bortles to struggle here in a close one, as the Panthers edge it out.
Panthers 13 Jaguars 10
Find tickets for Panthers at Jaguars –
Panthers at Jaguars Tickets
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
This is one of the most interesting games of the first week of the season. The Houston Texans, coming off a 9-7 campaign in Bill O’Brien’s first year as head coach, added to their dominant defensive line with the signing of veteran Vince Wilfork. Offensively, the Texans lost Andre Johnson, are without running back Arian Foster due to injury, and have given the ball to quarterback Brian Hoyer. The Texans wants to dominate field position and attack the quarterback. The Chiefs in their third season under Andy Reid, hope to finally get production from the wide receiver position, adding Jeremy Maclin from the Eagles coming off his best season to date. The Texans have playoff hopes, but the instability at quarterback will at least hold them back in this game, as Alex Smith knows where to put the ball in close games, and Jamaal Charles will close the game out on his legs.
Chiefs 22 Texans 20
Find tickets to Chiefs at Texans –
Chiefs at Texans Tickets
Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins
No team has had more front office issues in recent years than the Washington Redskins. From front office, to coaching, it all shows on the field, as the Redskins have been at the bottom of the NFC East in recent years. Turning to former back up quarterback Kirk Cousins, the Redskins and second year coach Jay Gruden want to prove doubters wrong by bringing an aggressive offense to the fold. Unfortunately for the Redskins, they face one of the top defensive lines in the league, featuring Cameron Wake, and newly signed All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. On offense the Dolphins trot out fourth year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and his new weapons on the outside, as they look to build on last years 11th ranked offense. The Redskins are simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time, as the Dolphins look to send a message to the rest of the AFC East.
Dolphins 34 Redskins 14
Find tickets to Dolphins at Redskins
Dolphins at Redskins Tickets
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
Speaking of the AFC East, no team has seen as much change across the board than the Buffalo Bills. A new head coach in former rival Rex Ryan, new running back in LeSean McCoy, and a questionable move to Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, the Bills are looking to build on their 9-7 campaign from 2014. With Rex Ryan, comes bravado, and defense, and he takes over for what was a top defense in 2014. This Bills team is great at getting to the quarterback, and Rex is sure to continue that trend. Naming Tyrod Taylor his starting quarterback was questionable, but Rex wants to ground and pound with McCoy and force the opposing quarterback into mistakes. The Colts bring forth Andrew Luck, the best young quarterback in the league, and his new weapons in veterans Frank Gore and Andrew Johnson. We know the Colts can score, but can they stop other teams from scoring? This is a prime upset this week, and I’m rolling with it. I expect the fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium to be loud and Andrew Luck to get hit early and often, as the Bills win their opener.
Bills 20 Colts 19
Find tickets to Colts at Bills –
Colts at Bills Tickets
New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals
One of surprise teams of the NFL the last two years, the Arizona Cardinals have high hopes this season, and much of it hinges on the health of quarterback Carson Palmer. After dealing with multiple quarterback injuries last year, the Cardinals were bounced in the first round of the playoffs after an impressive regular season that saw an aggressive defense and creative offense help win them games. This game features two of the top coaches in the league in Arizona’s Bruce Arians and New Orleans Sean Payton, and a game like this may come down to coaching. The Saints, coming off a disappointing season, lost a major piece in Jimmy Graham, and will look to rely on the running game behind Mark Ingram and CJ Spiller. The Saints defense was incredibly disappointing last year, and hope that they can improve, but this is a tough environment to do that in. Arizona fans are excited, and sure to make it difficult on Brees and the Saints as they edge out an exciting game.
Cardinals 27 Saints 23
Find tickets to Saints at Cardinals –
Saints at Cardinals Tickets
Detroit Lions at San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers looked like one of the top teams in the AFC early last year, lead by quarterback Philip Rivers, before fading away down the stretch. With the lack of a strong running game and a weak defense, they just couldn’t beat the teams they had to as the season wore on. Now, with rookie running back Melvin Gordon, they will look to have success running the ball, and hope a disappointing defense can improve on what they did last year. The Lions may have taken the biggest hits in free agency out of any playoff team from 2014. Losing Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, and CJ Mosley, the league’s number 2 defense last year will have to get creative in hopes of having that type of success again. Featuring a passing attack of Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, quarterback Matthew Stafford is going to have to put up bigger numbers this year for the Lions to get there. I expect Stafford and company to pull this one out in another road upset, with big days from Stafford, Tate, and rookie running back Ameer Abdullah.
Lions 23 Chargers 20
Find tickets to Lions at Chargers –
Lions at Chargers Tickets
Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos
Two of the top teams in the AFC face off in a possible AFC championship game preview, as Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens go to Denver to take on Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The Ravens came a few plays short of their second Super Bowl appearance in three years in the AFC title game last year, so the front office and coaching staff feel they’re not far off. Head coach John Harbaugh is always one of the most prepared coaches in the league, and I’d expect this game to be no different. Despite some new faces on offense, the Ravens move the ball with the running game and smart decision making by Flacco. Peyton Manning had another outstanding offensive season last year, but many came away wondering if this was it for the five time NFL MVP was ready to hang it up. But Peyton is back, with a new head coach and offensive coordinator, that will rely on the running game more to take some pressure off the future hall of famer’s back. Peyton usually plays well early in the season, and has played well against the Ravens recently, and I expect that to continue here
Broncos 37 Ravens 29
Find tickets to Ravens at Broncos –
Ravens at Broncos Tickets
Tennessee Titans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
For the first time in NFL history, the two top draft picks in this years draft will face off in week one, as Marcus Mariota’s Tennessee Titans will travel to Raymond James Stadium to face off with Jameis Winston’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both teams are coming off very tough seasons that resulted in them being the top two draft picks, but have high hopes for their teams and rookie quarterbacks. This is one of the toughest games to call, as you never know what you’re getting with young quarterbacks. Winston’s weapons on offense are beat up right now, which could result in him having trouble making safe, efficient throws. On the other side of the field, Mariota looks to show he can be a traditional drop back quarterback, and be the quarterback of the future for the Titans. This game comes down to who can win the turnover battle, and I expect the Titans to win a sloppy one.
Titans 23 Buccaneers 15
Find tickets to Titans at Buccaneers –
Titans at Buccaneers Tickets
Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders
Over the last four years, very few teams have been more consistent than the Cincinnati Bengals, at least in the regular season. With quarterback Andy Dalton and top wide receiver AJ Green, making the playoffs have been no problem for the Bengals. The playoffs themselves, however, have become a major issue. The Oakland Raiders, meanwhile, have remained equally consistent in the sense that they can’t get out of their own way and have not made the playoffs since 2002. With new head coach Jack Del Rio, the Raiders have second year quarterback Derek Carr, looking to build on his impressive rookie campaign, and added first round pick out of Alabama Amari Cooper to the fold to give him a dependable receiver on the outside. The Raiders seem to be on the right rack for the first time in a long time, but they still don’t have the depth and talent to compete with a team like the Bengals at this point, especially in the secondary. The Raiders will make it interesting early, but the Bengals will pull away as the game wears on.
Bengals 28 Raiders 20
Find tickets to Bengals at Raiders –
Bengals at Raiders Tickets
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
When is the last time the Giants and Cowboys game DIDN’T open the season against each other? Usually because the games are highly competitive battles between two fierce rivals. The Cowboys, coming off a much needed playoff appearance and even a playoff win, seem to have finally figured out what to put around Tony Romo to help the team perform consistently. Behind the best offensive line in the league, and a much improved defensive line, the Cowboys will move to a running back by committee approach, with Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle. For the New York Giants, they are all about offense, with Eli Manning and phenom Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants aren’t going to be defensive juggernauts by any mean, but they should be able to move the ball consistently, especially once Victor Cruz is back and healthy. But their questionable offensive line, and flat out poor pass rush and secondary will hold them back against the better offenses in this league and that will be on display in this game. This will be a high scoring affair, but as the Giants abandon the run the Cowboys improved defensive line will force Eli Manning into some mistakes and win this one by double digits.
Cowboys 34 Giants 23
Find tickets to Giants at Cowboys –
Giants at Cowboys Tickets
Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons
Rarely do you see teams with “franchise quarterbacks” go through rebuilding stages, but that’s exactly what is happening with the Atlanta Falcons. Matt Ryan will always put up numbers, but without a decent running game and a terrible defense on the other side, he finds himself unable to win many games. New head coach Dan Quinn hopes to bring some of the attitude his defenses in Seattle had, and repair what has been a consistently subpar defense in Atlanta. On offense, you had two stud wide receivers in Julio Jones and Roddy White, so defenses always have to be accountable for them as they can blow up almost any game. For the Eagles, head coach Chip kelly dumped many familiar faces and brought in his own guys, including former first overall pick, quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford’s problem has never been talent, but health, and if he can stay healthy this Eagles team can go a long way. With a good offensive line, new running backs DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews, quality pass catchers, and a pace on offense no one can keep up with, scoring points will not be a problem for this Eagles team. This one will be a shoot out until the end, when the Falcons defense just doesn’t have the stamina to keep up anymore.
Eagles 37 Falcons 32
Find tickets to Eagles at Falcons –
Eagles at Falcons Tickets
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers
No team had a more tumultuous offseason than the San Francisco 49ers. From suspensions, arrests, releases, and retirement, they lost quality personnel in every department, including coaching, as Jim Harbaugh left for Michigan. Taking over is Jim Tomsula, and he has his work cut out for him. The player turnover is almost too much to list, but none on offense bigger than running back Frank Gore. Taking over is second year back Carlos Hyde. The 49ers hope Colin Kaepernick can cut down on his turnovers and get back to using his legs a bit more, but it will be very difficult behind a shakey offensive line. For the Vikings, it’s the return of former league MVP Adrian Peterson, and the continued growth of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. In his second season, and first full as a starting quarterback, Teddy will look to develop chemistry with speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace. But make no qualms, the Vikings want to put the ball in Adrian Peterson’s hands and ride him toward a playoff berth. They’ll get off on the right foot in this game.
Vikings 26 49ers 23
Find tickets to Vikings at 49ers –
Vikings at 49ers Tickets